6 men of Mayor Espinosa killed in clash with cops in Albuera

6 men of Mayor Espinosa killed in clash with cops in Albuera

ALBUERA, Leyte — Six armed men, allegedly the bodyguards of Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. were killed in a clash with police early Wednesday morning at the vicinity of the mayor’s house in Sitio Tinago, Benolho village here.

PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, who was at the crime scene, said the encounter took place around 5:30 a.m. when armed men watching the gates of Espinosa’s houses opened fire at cops nearby.

The police deployed forces to the compound Monday evening after President Rodrigo Duterte demanded for the surrender of Espinosa and his son Kerwin within 24 hours or face a “shoot on site.”

The father surrendered to Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Tuesday, but the son remained at large.

“These bodyguards killed in shootout are reportedly from Mindanao. They were hired by the mayor to secure him during the elections. One of them was a hitman,” Beltejar told reporters here.

At the crime scene, the police recovered 13 assorted long firearms, four caliber .45 pistols and rifle grenades.

Seized firearms, according to Beltejar will be used as evidence in filing a case against the mayor, who at present, have no warrant of arrest.

The town is generally peaceful, but villagers nearby are afraid to go out after sunset for fear of clashes between police and the armed group of Espinosa. ELVIE ROMAN-ROA/PNA/northboundasia.com